If approved, foster families will receive increased support from nearly 200 additional caseworkers and support staff in the coming months
Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced a new staffing plan aimed at tackling the caseworker shortages in the Child Welfare division of the Department of Human Services (DHS) and right sizing the foster care system.
With legislative support for $14.5 million in additional funding for this biennium, DHS will be able to begin hiring and onboarding nearly 200 staff immediately. Future funding for the positions will be included in the Governor's budget for the upcoming biennium. The incoming staff will largely be focused on frontline support in field visits, and support staff will reduce administrative burden on caseworkers so they can spend more time with children and families on their caseload.
Currently, Oregon has a foster care system that is 1.8 times larger than the national average. With 1,300 case workers currently on the ground in Oregon, increasing staffing levels by nearly 200 will ensure that more resources are directed to keeping families together without compromising safety, and only those children who stand to benefit from services enter foster care.
A statement from Governor Kate Brown:
“Before we can accomplish anything else as a state, the safety of Oregon's most vulnerable children must be secured. We need more caring adults in children's lives as soon as possible. Bringing in significantly more caseworkers and staff to support them not only means more time for each family, but a massive rise in overall staff hours that would relieve burden on existing caseworkers and stem turnover issues.
“We rely on dedicated professionals on the frontlines to ensure children's well-being, and we need to do our utmost right now to support those caseworkers who are there, day in and day out, working in our communities and making an impact one child at a time.
“I urge our elected representatives to take advantage of this session to make sure that more Oregonian children have access to a brighter future."
CHILD WELFARE ADDITIONAL STAFFING PLAN
Estimated resources to quickly relieve caseload and workload for existing Child Welfare employees, allow Child Welfare caseworkers to spend more time with children and families, and reduce turnover. Hires will increase incrementally over the coming months as training allows.
Social Workers 75
Case Workers 75
Office Support Staff 25
Funding Total $14.5 million